Weird things I’ve learned so far while on placement

I’m more than a week into my gastroenterology placement, which has so far swept me off my feet to the point where I’ve forgotten to write. Reading a book a week is still going brilliantly and is acting as an excellent means of relaxing. Trust me, I need it.

In addition to having the opportunity to watch an ERCP, observe an ascitic tap, sit in on a BBV clinic, and attend/assist with numerous ward rounds, I’ve learned a little about where some of our most useful gastro discoveries have come from.

In a weird fit of naivety, I’ve sometimes believed that scientific discoveries are gleaned through arduous trial and error processes. As it turns out, there’s less of this sitting in a lab and brainstorming business and more accidental discoveries that are aided by a little bit of common sense. During my undergrad degree, I was lectured by a lady who decided to look into the use of maggots in wound healing. She’s since gone on to synthesise the excrement they produce, which has great antibiotic AND antifungal properties. This practice was abandoned and then returned once we’d discovered antibiotics, hammered the shit out of them, built resistance, and started thinking “Oh crap what next?”

As it turns out, there are a couple more highly useful – and slightly more common – medical practices we’e derived from odd places…

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Why you should never feel guilty for standing up for yourself


In the words of the almighty Albus Dumledore, “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to our enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” Whether it’s someone you love or someone you don’t, having another person mock you, take advantage of you, or play with your feelings is rarely pleasant. Depending on the type of person you are, you may relish in sticking up for yourself. Some feel a sense of elation at making themselves heard, while the rest of us wash over with guilt almost instantly.

standing up for yourself

Recently, I found that someone I cared about was taking advantage of my forgiving and trusting nature. They’d done this once before, but I chose to move past it. Then they did it again, so I chose to show them that I can’t be treated as a fool. I felt that sense of elation that comes with sticking up for yourself, but only very briefly. It wasn’t long before I was subsequently awash with guilt and itching to say “sorry,” even though I wasn’t the one in the wrong.

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Freelance writing while studying: where to find work

I won’t begin this post with a moan about being a skint student. Okay, going from full-time work as cabin crew to an NHS bursary does suck, but my course is rarely funded by local authorities, which means I have very little right to moan.

However, I do sometimes feel skint and miserable. I’m a quarter of the way through my course now, so I don’t have long to go. Freelance writing while studying is still a necessity, though. Especially if I want to keep up with my lipstick obsession, have any form of hobby, or socialise.

freelance writing while studying

One of the main issues with freelance writing while studying is that you may not be able to devote a consistent amount of time to your work. When exams come around, they take priority, as they dictate a large proportion of my future. How that works for you may vary, but for me it means small volumes of work and ad-hoc projects are essential. As such, I’ve chosen to stick to certain companies and platforms, as well as the odd content mill. I know they’re the absolute peak of evil to a lot of freelance writers, but when I’m struggling to grab one-off jobs or even find the time to pitch for them – time is a precious commodity for trainee physician associates – they get me through.

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How is mummy shaming still a ‘thing’?

I reach a certain point of my Saturday where I zone out and start scrolling through Facebook. Usually this leads to observing the odd couples’ argument, a funny cat video, or the latest round of armchair experts praising/slandering Trump.

Today, I saw mummy shaming for the first time in a long time. Above the image of a sizzling pan of prawns surrounded by lemons and chilli flakes were the words “I eat healthy its no secret but im always asked what my kids eat well they eat the same 😂😂 #feedyourkidsright #nofattyshere“.

mummy shaming

Aside from the appalling syntax, this sentence provided me with many reasons to grimace. It comes from a mum I used to go to school with who takes to Facebook every school holidays to bitch about other parents who take their kids on holiday during term time. According to this particular sanctimummy, other mums are depriving their kids of an education and it’s absolutely their fault for not having a rich husband. Stop being so poor, inferior parent.

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52 Books in 2017: A Respectable Trade

One of the main ideas behind reading a book a week for a year was to explore different worlds and discover a new favourite author or two. After reading Tom Clancy True Faith and Allegiance, I didn’t feel the slightest bit of guilt about heading back to a firm favourite: Philippa Gregory.


Over the course of the last year I’ve read every one of her books from The Cousin’s War and Tudor Court series. A Respectable Trade is another historical novel by Gregory. It focuses on the life of an impoverished member of the nobility, Frances Scott, who falls on hard times and decides to seek a job as a governess in Bristol. Rather than offering her a position of employment, her prospective boss Josiah Cole asks for her hand in marriage.

a respectable trade review

Frances is on the wrong side of her thirties, for that time at least, and so she accepts the marriage as the best she can manage. Upon entering her new marital home, she finds Josiah still expects her to fulfil her role as a governess. Rather than taking on noble children, she is to teach slaves of all ages in order for her trading husband to maximise his cargo profits.

Spoilers from here on in…

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